Things simply aren’t going well for the Nashville Predators right now. Coming into Saturday night’s game against the San Jose Sharks, the Predators had lost three of their last four games by a combined score of 10-1 in the three games they lost.
Nashville’s struggles continued on Saturday night against the Sharks, losing 2-1 in a game where they were out-shot by a 39-19 margin.
Nashville hasn’t been putting together solid collective efforts offensively and defensively as of late. Against Vancouver last week, the Predators were great defensively but did not score a goal; they lost that game 1-0. Even in their one victory in the past five games where they scored five goals against Dallas, they still allowed four goals. The Predators are just having a tough time putting both aspects of the game together and translating that into a victory.
Every goal scored on Saturday night in San Jose came on a Sharks power play.
Dan Boyle and Joe Pavelski scored both goals for San Jose on the man advantage while Gabriel Bourque scored Nashville’s lone goal while they were shorthanded later in the third period. It was the Predators’ first shorthanded tally of the season.
Both Pekka Rinne and Antii Niemi were solid in net. Niemi was not tested very often but responded when he was tested, turning away 18 shots. Rinne did all he could do to keep his team in the game, making 37 saves, but the Predators simply aren’t getting enough offense.
The Predators are in one of those low points that every NHL team goes through over the course of a season. However, those low points are magnified in a condensed, 48-game season. Losing four out of five games can really hurt teams in the long run, and the Predators have to find a way to snap out of it and play well both offensively and defensively at the same time.
Nashville will take on the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings on Monday night to try and get back to their winning ways. The Kings have been playing pretty well as of late, winning five of their last six games. They seem to have regained their identity after struggling to start the season.
Five things from Saturday night’s game…
- Brandon Yip left the game in the first period after taking a hard hit behind the San Jose net. He was very slow to get up and back to the bench on the play, and Trotz told Josh Cooper of The Tennessean that Yip is “doubtful” for Monday’s game in Los Angeles.
- Kevin Klein took his first penalty of the season after having just four penalty minutes last season. It was his first regular season penalty since October 29, 2011.
- The Predators are not getting enough offensive production out of their lineup, especially from their veteran forwards. Nashville’s top two centers, Mike Fisher and David Legwand, have combined for just 15 points in 22 games. Legwand has just four points since the start of February (15 games). That’s not going to get it done.
- Nashville’s penalty kill has suffered with Hal Gill out of the lineup. The Predators killed off 41-of-50 (82.0%) with him in the lineup. They’ve killed off just 18-of-25 (72.0%) with him out of the lineup. He’s an extremely important part of the penalty kill, and that discrepancy shows it.
- Games between the Sharks and Predators were very low-scoring this season. In their first meeting, the Predators won 2-1 by way of a shootout. Nashville won the second game by a 1-0 score in overtime, and the Sharks won the last meeting on Saturday night by a 2-1 score.
Three stars of Saturday night’s game…
1. Joe Thornton, SJS… Thornton recorded his 1100th NHL point on Saturday night and had two assists.
2. Logan Couture, SJS… Couture also had two assists and played a solid game for the Sharks. He was all over the place in the offensvie zone for San Jose.
3. Joe Pavelski, SJS… Pavelski scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal for the Sharks in the second period on the power play.